I want to bring you back to early January. I found myself one evening on a bus headed towards the south-end of Ottawa to visit a friend of mine who I met in our first year at Carleton. While on the commute I had the My Chemical Romance’s 2010 album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys playing, and as I hit the (thematically) final track, The Kids of Yesterday, it dawned upon me that for the first time since the end of High School that that was me. The reason I was headed out to the South end was because my friend was going to Exeter for a semester abroad, and she wanted to celebrate. This combined with the realisation that I was entering the final semester of my undergrad gave me pause to reflect on the changes that had occurred since I was 17 and I felt this same whimsy.
Last night was a new low-point for political discourse at Carleton University. What began as a slogan-shouting match between the two slates, One Carleton and Change, devolved into a hostile situation during the open questions period for the VPI (Vice-President of when a question was asked regarding alleged tweets made by a member of the Change slate in 2012 that were misogynistic and homophobic. Both sides succumbed the anger and shouting, causing the open question period to have to be ended early to avoid any conflict.
And sitting calmly among this chaos was Ruth Lau MacDonald.
Edit, 11/11/16: It has come to light that Leonard Cohen passed away on November 7th, with his passing only being officially announced on the 10th. This information was not apparent at the time of writing. I’ve decided to keep the original text so that the post still serves as an initial reaction to the news of Cohen’s passing.
Leonard Cohen passed away today. I didn’t quite believe it at first, it was even hard to comprehend that Cohen was capable of dying (despite his constant references to it in the lead up to his final album, You Want it Darker, which was released not even three weeks ago). I felt that I needed to write something to stop myself from guzzling down the $100 bottle of scotch that I have in my cupboard for important occasions which I’ve only ever opened once before tonight.
I didn’t know Leonard Cohen, as devoted a fan to him I was I had no kind of relationship, so I don’t want to create the impression that I’m somehow uniquely devastated by his passing. However, I found something uniquely enthralling about his music, a collection of works that surpassed the notion of genre and were as varied in their subject matter as the human experience itself.
The year is 2005, and an 11 year-old Chris went to see a movie with his mom and step-dad. At this point in my life, I can barely remember not liking a movie. Now I had seen many terrible movies at this point: Attack of the Clones (2002) and The Master of Disguise (2002), both being examples of terrible movies that childhood Chris still loved because he was a naive optimist, full of devotion and love for humanity whose spirit could not be toppled by any force, no matter how powerful. Then he saw The Legend of Zorro (2005).
Today marks six years since I came out the world (which at the time was the around 200-250 people I was friends with on Facebook) as Bisexual. I’ve spent a lot of today reflecting on the previous six years of my life, and wondering whether the hasty decision made by my sixteen year old self was a good decision.
Disclaimer: While I do not have any financial stake in either of these projects, I do support them both on Patreon. As I hope to argue, I feel that both of these projects are critical to the future of education, and therefore worthy of a few dollars a month.
In my first piece, The Merits of New Media in Academia, I talked about how social media can be beneficial to the academic experience. However, one aspect that I did not get a chance to discuss was the effect of YouTube and how educational initiatives based from the platform have the potential to benefit the overall field of education.
To this end, I want to focus on two different projects – Extra History and Crash Course. Both of these projects, while not perfect, show the direction in which people, especially younger students, will start accessing information on the internet., and both are likely to have a lasting impact on the future of education.
Spoilers for the most recent season of Bojack Horseman ahead!
The Merits of New Media in Academia – a response to “I’m a Serious Academic, not a professional Instagrammer”
Recently, the Guardian published this piece bemoaning the growing importance of social media in the academic experience, and while I did throw in a quick quip on Twitter, I felt compelled to write a longer response, in the form of an open letter to the anonymous PHD student who penned the piece.
Dear Anonymous PHD student who is, by your own testimony at least, not “…some cranky old professor harking back to the Good Old Days.”
Your piece that was recently published in the Guardian has given me cause to think over the role of social media within the confines of academia. While I wanted to initially dismiss what you had to say (primarily based on how you chose to say it, but I’ll address that later), you did raise some valid questions on how services such as Twitter have changed the academic dynamic are worth looking at.